02 May 2014
Strain on resources in northern dioceses
I was saddened to read about the plight of the Northern dioceses, ("Northern dioceses feel the pinch, The Tablet, 26 April.) The long and vibrant history of Catholicism in the North makes it all the more difficult to witness.
I do wonder however, with reference to the Diocese of Lancaster drafting in the Sisters of Mercy of Alma, Mitchigan, and the Institute of Christ the King, whether this is going to be an effective way forward, or beneficial financially or pastorally. I feels like this might be a shoring up exercise rather than the vibrant vision of Pope Francis in Evangelii Gaudium.
I say this because already within the diocese of Lancaster, there exists the Metanoia Community, made up mostly of young professional Catholics led by a married couple who are former youth workers with the diocese. They were invited some time ago to represent the Metanoia community, by Archbishop Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelisation, to an international conference in Rome for new communities of The New Evangelisation.
They are involved in a variety of pastoral initiatves both within and outside the diocese, meeting often for prayer and worship. All they lack is a place to live in! Among other empty diocesan building they tried to rent, they also asked the diocese to rent the former university chaplaincy in Preston, sadly closed when the Franciscan chaplains left, but were unsuccessful, even though it would have cost the diocese nothing, and would have not only have been big enough for them, but would have provided the opportunity of keeping up a place of prayer for the many young Catholics who came there when it was the university chaplaincy. Now this building is to be the home of a small group of priests of the Institute of Christ the King, needing diocesan financal support.
I wonder how this can be the best way forward for any diocese in the light of what Pope Francis wrote in Evangelii Gaudium, "We are called to bear witness to a constantly new way of living."
Fr John Michael Hanvey, Blackburn, Lancs
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